Florida Family Receives $33.8M in Birth Injury Med Mal Case
According to Local10.com, a Miami Gardens family recently received a $33.8 million medical malpractice award against the federal government earlier this week for brain damage sustained by their son during birth. In its decision the court held the federal government liable for causing the baby boy to suffer irreversible brain damage during his birth due to a federally employed doctor’s decision not to deliver the baby via a cesarean section (aka C-section). Allegedly, the on-call doctor ignored the teenage mother’s request to deliver the baby by C-section, despite the baby’s slow heart rate, and left the mother at a crucial point in order to assist with another delivery. Medical experts who testified on behalf of both the plaintiffs and the defense respectively agreed that if the baby had been delivered by C-section that he likely would not have been deprived of oxygen and consequently would not have suffered brain damage. Due to his traumatic birth injury the baby boy who is now three years old is only expected to live another nine to twelve years.
What’s the Difference Between a Birth Injury and a Birth Defect?
In this case, the family was able to successfully pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of their baby boy because the doctor in charge of delivering the baby failed to exhibit the level of care expected of similarly situated doctors and, as a result, the baby was injured. Here the baby sustained brain damage during its birth, and therefore suffered a birth injury (an injury that happens during or just after delivery) rather than a birth defect (an injury that occurs as the baby develops in the womb). Legally speaking it is important to differentiate between these two types of injuries because a delivery doctor can generally only be held liable in a medical malpractice case for birth injuries caused by his or her actions or failure to act during the delivery. In other words, whether the injury is classified as a birth injury or as a birth defect greatly impacts the potential defendants that can be named in a resulting medical malpractice case.
While newborn injuries and defects come in a variety of different forms, consider the following examples in order to better understand the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect.
- Examples of Common Birth Injuries: Nerve damage, broken bones, brain damage, and meconium aspiration syndrome sustained during or just after a baby’s delivery.
- Examples of Common Birth Defects: Defects that develop in utero such as neural tube defects, down syndrome, congenital heart defects, and inherited metabolic disorders.
Please note that not all birth injuries and birth defects are avoidable. Sometimes the responsible medical professionals involved do all they can to avoid damage to the baby and yet the infant is still be born with an injury or a defect. However, at times it can be very hard to determine when damage to a newborn was unavoidable and when it is the result of medical malpractice. Therefore, be sure to consult with a local medical malpractice attorney if your loved one was born with a birth injury or defect that you suspect may have been caused by medical malpractice.
Contact Us for Help Today
If your loved one was born in Florida with a birth defect or injury that you suspect was caused by a medical professional’s negligence but sure to contact the Mander Law Group without delay. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys are committed to assisting injured clients through this trying time in their lives with compassion and understanding while simultaneously fighting for the compensation that they are legally entitled to. Give our Dade City office a call today at (800) 557-0411.